A beautiful photo from Destin, FL

Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s Inaugural “Bluegrass at the Beach” Festival 2015

Insider Tips on How Best to Enjoy the Day-long Fest September 12th

MKAF Bluegrass at the beachMKAF 20yr LOGOFrom seasoned Bluegrass veteran bands to contemporary twists on Bluegrass sound to sensational rising stars, the inaugural Bluegrass at the Beach produced by Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) will be an art-filled family-friendly musical showcase that appeals to all ages.

Presented with support from awesome iLoveDestin Partner, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals and Real Estate as part of MKAF’s 20th anniversary celebration, the daylong Bluegrass at the Beach music festival will be presented at the Cultural Arts Village — located in the scenic coastal town of Destin on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast — on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

bluegrass Fest FrankoWashboardJacksonBlue Highway will headline a dynamic roster of seven local, regional and national acts along with a special appearance by rising bluegrass star Danielle Yother. But that is just the beginning of this exciting thing to do at the Beach 2015. This inaugural staging of the Northwest Florida’s first bluegrass festival also will feature a bluegrass-themed artist demos, workshops and hands-on art stations for young bluegrass fans, plenty of food and drink, along with several other surprises, too.


Sixteen year-old rising bluegrass star Danielle Yother will kick things off by performing as music lovers enter the Cultural Arts Village beginning at 10 a.m. Dismal Creek will open the show with its sizzling Southern sound around 11 a.m. followed by local hometown folk favorites, Dread Clampitt just after noon, then Arizona’s Run Boy Run gives the roster ‘Appalachian punch.’ Kicking things up in the afternoon is the fresh faced Moore Brothers Band followed by the soulful sounds of Alabama-based Willie Sugarcapps around 5 p.m. and then The Hillbenders high octane performance will begin around 7 p.m. and include songs from the “Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” named one of the Top Country Album of 2015 by Rolling Stone magazine just before. Finally, Tennessee’s award-winning five-member band, Blue Highway — one of bluegrass music’s most accomplished and seasoned bands — is this year’s headliner and will take the stage around 8 p.m. All performance times are subject to change.


In between music performances and throughout the daylong concert, attendees will be treated to Pickin’ & Paintin’ — a series of live performances, bluegrass-inspired artist demonstrations, lively storytelling sessions by professional actors and colorful folk art exhibits. Below is a list of some of the bluegrass-inspired things to do, hear and see for all ages.

Make & Do
Calling all young bluegrass pickers to create and craft away. Build your very own banjo or get into the spirit by painting a bluegrass-inspired picture.

Listen ‘N Learn
Music and art lovers can check the schedule of performances and demonstrations throughout the day:

Banjo Makin’ with John Lohr (Key West)
Experience the fine art and craft of fiddle making first hand with a live demonstration peppered with stories by seasoned instrument craftsman, music lover and life long learner John Lohr.

Bluegrass Fest Danielle_YotherSpecial Guest Appearance by Danielle Yother (South Carolina)
Special guest artist Danielle Yother is a South Carolina-based singer/songwriter and accomplished musician playing guitar, mandolin and bass, who was recently featured in Flatpicking Guitar magazine. Though just 16 years-old Yother has already made an impression on the bluegrass and country worlds having played with or for renowned musicians such as Blue Highway, Wayne Henderson, The Boxcars, Steve Martin, Vince Gill and Rhonda Vincent.

Art & Jam by Eileen West Gallery & Franko “Washboard” Jackson (Walton County)
Franko “Washboard” Jackson was born in Oklahoma and took up washboard in New Orleans in 1975 at the age of 25. While there he has played with many music legends including Professor Longhair. Come browse folk art pieces available for sale courtesy of the Eileen West Gallery and check out Washboard’s as he jams in between main stage acts.

Story time with Emerald Coast Theatre Company
The Emerald Coast Theatre Company presents a dramatic reading of “Meet Smoky Mountain Rose, an Appalachian Cinderella.” Gather around to see and hear this “Smoky” story. A musician/narrator — accompanied by acoustic strings narrates while two costumed improv performers act out all the parts of this fairytale story with a bluegrass twist.

Americana Music Wall
Hands down, this is one exhibit you won’t want to miss. All ages are invited to discover the magic of the music making at this interactive display of creative and repurposed materials. Do not touch, does not apply here.


The Festival offers up a culinary arts experience, too. A collection of local restaurants and eateries will serve up samplings of savory seafood from 790 On The Gulf, tasty tacos from The Big Red Truck, award-winning barbecue from Jim N’ Nicks, small bites from Wild Olive along with tasty sweet treats by Rosey’s Kettle Corn and Mark’s Hawaiian Shaved Ice among others. Foodies can toast the arts with select domestic and imported wine and beer in the Wine Bar & Beer Garden. Gather with family and friends to enjoy your meal al fresco, while taking in the Festival scene and listening to the stellar music line up.


Be sure to stop in the various hospitality tents hosted by Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau and ResortQuest Wyndham Vacation Rental & Real Estate.


Tickets purchased in advance for the daylong festival are $45/MKAF members and $55 for general admission. Tickets purchased the day the event will be $55/MKAF members and $65 general admission. Children (under 12) are free. VIP tables are $750 each. They include premium seating for eight and 16 drink tickets. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.mattiekellyartsfoundation.org/pr/newsreleases-bluegrass.htm. Proceeds to benefit MKAF’s cultural arts and education outreach programs.


Doors open at 10 a.m. Parking is available on-site as well as at convenient satellite parking areas with free shuttle service. Park for free at Grace Lutheran Church located adjacent to the Cultural Arts Village or at Emerald Coast Centre, located on Highway 98 near Beall’s Department Store, and ride the free continuous shuttle service right to the main entrance. The Cultural Arts Village is designed as an ADA compliant venue with available handicap parking.

Bring your family, friends or any fellow music fan, especially the ones that look for things to do in Destin with live music, and head to Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts for an outdoor music extravaganza to keep you clicking your heals and moving to the Bluegrass beat! It’s sure to be the start of a much anticipated annual event for Destin, FL for many years to come!  

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